One of my objectives in life is to binge-watch as many shows as humanly possible. The other is to find places where I am surrounded by beautiful vehicles. Such a place could be a dealership, a showroom or just a plain ol’ parking lot - the only criteria is that there must be at least one awesome car somewhere in the vicinity.
I’ve known about one such facility for a while, called the Petrol Lounge, that houses millions of dollars worth of amazing cars but have never made it over there. I finally got the chance to do so and it was even better than I was expecting.
Petrol Lounge is essentially a giant warehouse where people get to store their most beloved possessions on wheels and desperate car lovers like myself patiently wait outside the door until someone lets them in. Nobody really wanted to let me in but since I looked so pathetic, someone probably felt bad and reluctantly decided to unlock the door.
As I walked in, I wondered...if it’s called the Petrol Lounge, does that mean that no Teslas are allowed here? Especially the ones that have vanity plates that state “NO GAS”? Maybe a Tesla could call Petrol Lounge its home…but only for the right price. Of course I’m only joking. I’m sure Teslas are welcomed here: they’re just stored in the basement - out of sight and out of mind.
What you find inside Petrol Lounge are cars like a Ferrari F40, a Porsche 918, a Shelby Daytona coupe - a laundry list of collector vehicles purchased by owners who are hoping to make a higher return on automobiles than investing in other things. Why buy stocks when you can buy cars?
Besides being a home for fancy cars, Petrol Lounge also has a place to hang out, play racing games, pool or race slot cars on a giant track. If you’re lonely and love cars, then this is the place for you…actually not really. This is a place reserved for owners who are paying money to store some of the most valuable cars in the world.
What were they thinking by letting me in??
As long as you’re willing to pay $300 a month to have your vehicle be pampered in a way that 99.99% of humans on this planet can only dream of, then you can consider yourself a member of the Petrol Lounge.
It just so happened that loitering on a bright sunny Saturday morning meant that I could tag along on “fancy car drop-off duty”. On this particular day, we had to deliver both a McLaren and a Raptor to their owner.
First up was a 2012 McLaren MP4-12C. It certainly looks the part of a supercar but the rounded edges do take away from the “in your face” aggression that, I think, a supercar should have. The design could’ve been a bit more edgy, although the overall lines of the car were undeniably attractive.
If you own a McLaren and want the world to see you getting into one, then be sure to have one thing figured out real well. Master it. If you just bought the McLaren, then practice it over and over so that it becomes second nature before you’re seen in public. If at this point you’re probably wondering - what the hell are you talking about - don’t worry, just keep reading!
On the Mclaren, there is no door handle. Instead, there is only a sensor hidden underneath the exterior paneling with no indication of where the sensor might be (see picture above). And unless your fingers are right on the sensor, the door wont open.
So, here is a completely plausible scenario. Let’s say you’ve either just won the lottery or sold your business or perhaps you’ve decided to spend 80% of your paycheck on a car payment and got your hands on a brand new McLaren. You’re feeling euphoric and you show up to Walgreens to fulfill your beef jerky craving in your newly purchased supercar.
You leave Walgreens and strut confidently, like the superstar you are, towards your beautiful exotic and place your hand on the door to open it. You are immediately humbled when precious seconds go by and you can’t open the door. As time keeps ticking away, humiliation soon replaces your quickly deflating ego, as people start staring at you and wondering why you’re caressing your McLaren as you move your hand up and down the door paneling trying to find that pesky sensor.
They just don’t realize that you’re in a deep and complex relationship with your McLaren.
They’ll never understand.
Once you find your way into the McLaren, the interior actually feels quite snug and small. It’s deceptive since the MP4-12C is much bigger and wider than you’d think with the majority of the car being behind you. And, of course, as with any supercar you can’t see anything out of it.
On the road, the power is intense. 592 hp is a lot for a car that barely weighs 3200 lb. At high rpms, the engine roar sounds great, but the power was too much for the tires to handle. When they did grip the road though, the car accelerated unbelievably quickly. It’s a rush of adrenaline as you get pushed back into your seat.
I assumed that the McLaren would be more luxurious and quieter than it was by the looks of it, but there was a unrefined quality to it which I actually enjoyed. The ride was relatively harsh and you quickly realize that the only place that this car belongs at is a race track. Driving around town, it’s unfulfilling since you know that you can never come close to anything that this car is capable of achieving.
This is a feature that I liked. Both the driver and passenger have their own personalized climate control - it should be like this in all cars. You can adjust the temperature as well as the fan speed, but in a car like the McLaren there’s no time to worry about that since you’re too busy flooring it at every opportunity.
After too short of a drive, we dropped off the McLaren and went back to the lounge to grab the Raptor. Now, this Raptor was a sight to behold. It was a massive, blindingly red and expensively modified truck with more lights than what you’d find in a football stadium.
This Raptor is too much of everything. It’s too high, too loud, too bright and too obnoxious - but I loved it. There is also an unbelievably loud train horn installed that will make you pee your pants. See the video clip below - skip over to the minute mark if you just want to hear the horn. If you’re wearing headphones, lower the volume.
You can’t hide in this truck because once you hit the road with this monster, everyone will look at you and immediately form some sort of opinion. There’s no escaping it.
Here are some thoughts people around you will have.
Human #1: Look at you - you disgusting scum of the earth. I can’t believe this is how little you care about the environment. I hope you crash your truck and die with it.
Human #2: Dude, badass ride. Can I get a ride in that thing?
Human #3: You’re such an attention whore - you should be ashamed of yourself parading around in that thing.
Human #4: Where are the drugs stashed?
And so the judgments continued. Everyone looked at us - and I mean - everyone. Even without saying anything, you could just feel the judgment oozing out of their faces. If a pie is “judgment”, then what you would have noticed were people everywhere whose faces were covered with pies. A bunch of pie-faces everywhere.
The humongous truck took up almost the entire lane and although it is incredibly loud from the outside, you don’t hear much from inside the truck. Because you are so high off the ground and sort of insulated from what’s on the road, you could easily run over squirrels, cats, deer, smart cars and not feel a thing.
You’d think a 6.2L V8 that’s supercharged would be enough, but with this truck, more gas equaled more noise, but not speed.
This ridiculous Raptor was lots of fun though - I’m sure it’s a blast to drive around on sand dunes, climb rocks, go up and down stairs and drive over Minis.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this Raptor plays a leading role in an upcoming horror movie where it’s a self-driven possessed devil that obliterates everything in its path.
As luck would have it, as we were dropping off the Raptor, we came across the rare Ferrari FF.
I have a feeling the FF and I will cross paths in the near future.
But for now, I must figure out how I can spend more of my time at Petrol Lounge. In fact, I’m going to sell my house and just live at the Petrol Lounge - surely I can place a mattress somewhere in there.
Torque Affair is about exploring my fascination with cars; I’m always on the lookout for things that interest me in the car world.